Car stuff that’ll jab you right in the nostalgia

Motoring has changed quite a bit over the last thirty years or so, and sometimes it’s easy to forget this.

Here are 13 things you simply don’t see regularly with cars of today.

Feu Orange air fresheners

The pin probably falls short of today’s health and safety… (Image source)
Remember these strange traffic light-like air fresheners that folk used to dangle from their wing mirrors complete with the chain and pin? Originals still make a small fortune on eBay while inferior foreign imitations are also rife. Regardless, the magic tree still reigns supreme.

Security stickers and coded radios


Back in the days when stealing a car didn’t involve a laptop each manufacturer would proudly display warnings on their car’s glass. Which brings us nicely onto the next couple of points.

Glass with VIN/registration markings

It seems that the process of etching glass with a vehicles registration number has all but disappeared.

Sun strips

Another glass related change. Remember the not so subtle tinted windscreens that made their way onto so many cars in the 90s or worse still, the motorsport-style strips that would fail MOTs.

Door protectors

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Think I’d rather have a battered door to be honest (Image source)
These reflective horrors used to be commonplace in car parks, particularly amongst those who were closer to death from natural causes.

Electric aerials


There was always something seriously satisfying about an electric aerial, that was until it got stuck part way up or down.

Spare wheels/tyres

The once obligatory spare is fast becoming a rarity thanks to cost cutting and the prevalence of run-flat tyres and the temporary repair kits.

Conventional locks and keys

Remember the last time you locked your car by turning a barrel by 90 or 180 degrees? Remote central locking and keyless entry mean that most people probably don’t.

Cassette decks/CD Players

This boombastic setup was fitted into a Peugeot 205 I once owned
In this age of streaming and Bluetooth syncing even the prospect of a CD-ROM seems increasingly archaic.



Locking up a car’s steering column did prove one of the most effective security solutions a few decades back. Alarmingly – no pun intended ­– this sort of device and similar designs are making something of a comeback thanks to the vulnerabilities of certain modern cars.

Cigarette lighters/Ash trays

Image: Grant Bacon/Flickr CC
It’s no doubt a good thing that today’s cars come with 12v sockets where cigarette lighters once were, but I always found something slightly comforting about the flip out illuminated ash trays that used to sit alongside them. Kids of today will likely find it hard to believe that something that glowed red hot within a matter of seconds was ever allowed in a car’s interior.

ICE upgrades

Remember when radios could be swapped out or upgraded with the use of special keys or a carefully bent spoon? It’s something that is becoming less and less in new cars mostly thanks to increased integration at dashboards – that and the general improvements available in O.E in-car entertainment have spelled an end for a once booming industry. Gone too are most of the subwoofers, amps and speaker upgrades.

Mud flaps

R.I.P mud flaps, gone but not forgotten (Image source: Riley/Flickr CC)
Mud flaps just seemed to suddenly fall out of favour on pretty much everything apart from rally replicas.

Car phones

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Image from YouTube video
Long gone are the days of rolling up a compartment in the centre console containing a chunky brick of a phone, integration of today’s smartphones has seen an end to the clunky devices that used to be expensive options in certain luxury cars.








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